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Iraq submits 'El Clasico' film as official foreign-language Oscar selection

The FC crew discuss the importance of Barcelona's clash with Real Madrid in their pursuit of the La Liga title.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley had some harsh words for Barcelona coach Luis Enrique ahead of El Clasico this weekend.
With Barcelona now six points behind Real Madrid in La Liga, the FC crew break down the issues in Luis Enrique's squad.

Iraq's official foreign-language Oscar submission this year is a film called "El Clasico" about two young Kurds who embark on a road trip to try to meet Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The plot features two brothers, one a Madrid fan and the other a Barcelona supporter, who live in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Madrid follower hatches a plan to visit the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and meet Ronaldo, in the hope of impressing his would-be bride's father, by presenting the Portugal captain with a pair of...

 By John Duerden

Marcello Lippi fails to inspire China while Australia draw 2-2 in Thailand

Jason Dasey and Matt Smith break down Thailand's resilient effort in their 2-2 draw against Australia in WCQ.
China coach Marcello Lippi
Marcello Lippi took charge of his first competitive game as China head coach.

Marcello Lippi was unable to inspire China to a win in his first game in charge as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Qatar in a AFC World Cup qualifier in Kunming on Tuesday evening.

The hosts are bottom of Group A in the final round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup with just one point from the first four games, and the result almost certainly ends the slim hopes they had of finishing in the top two in the six-team group and progressing automatically to Russia.

China had plenty of chances but...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Australia and Japan draw as China lose again in AFC World Cup qualifying

Mile Jedinak's penalty rescued Australia from a home 2018 AFC World Cup qualifying defeat, salvaging a 1-1 draw in Melbourne against Japan and keeping the Socceroos on course for Russia 2018.

The Japanese looked set for a smash-and-grab success after Genki Haraguchi's fifth-minute opener until Australia's captain restored parity early in the second half.

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A first half played at a snail's pace gave way to a helter-skelter second 45 minutes, allowing the Socceroos back into the Group B contest.

The...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

World Cup concentration lapses cost Thailand six points - Kiatisuk

Thailand and Iraq face off in a clutch AFC WCQ match, but who has the edge? ESPN's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson break it down.
In 2014, Thailand national team and Suphanburi midfielder, Charyl Chappuis, suffered a devastating injury. Following a 16-month layoff, he made his return to football. Here's his story.
At a young age, Charyl Chappuis' passion for football was ignited. Delve into the story of how his love for the game has evolved.

Head coach Kiatisak Senamuang has urged his Thailand players to maintain their focus for the entire 90 minutes in Tuesday's 2018 AFC World Cup qualifier against Iraq on neutral soil in Tehran.

The Southeast Asian champions have slumped to three losses to begin their final round campaign, including last Thursday's 3-1 away defeat against United Arab Emirates.

But they would fancy their chances of beating the pointless Iraqis, with whom they played out two draws in the second round of qualifying.

Ahead...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

South Korea, Japan claw back to win 2018 AFC World Cup qualifiers

Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-Min struck the winner as South Korea followed Japan in recording late victories at home in 2018 AFC World Cup qualifying on Thursday night.

The Koreans trailed Qatar 2-1 in Suwon in Group A before firing two goals in two second-half minutes to win 3-2, despite being reduced to 10 men after Hong Jeong-Ho's 66th minute red card. 

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Son's go-ahead goal came in the 58th minute when he curled in a right-footed shot from the left-hand side of the box, two minutes after...